Mrs. Morris and the Witch (A Salem B&B Mystery #2) by Traci Wilton

This is the second in the Mrs. Morris/Salem B&B series. The first one was good-Charlene wakes up in her newly purchased B&B (in Salem, Massachusetts) to find the ghost of Jack in her bedroom. He asks her to help find his murderer and she obliges and when he has the chance to ‘move into the light’, he stays with her. So, it was good. Now we get to the second book, this one. Oh, boy.

The plot follows Charlene as she deals with her first paying guests at the B&B during the Halloween festivities in Salem. The murder victim is a local ‘witch’ named Morganna. Charlene works to solve the murder with the help of ghostly Jack, while trying to stay on the good side of Detective Sam. Sam’s sister and brother-in-law are also staying at the B&B. There is a young guy that may be the killer but Charlene thinks he is just misguided or something and wants to solve the murder to clear this kids name. BUT, we are missing a set up that would explain why she goes out on a limb, endangering herself for this stupid guy.

Let’s get into this. First of all, the series is written by two authors-Traci Hall and Patrice Wilton. Right away we know there are going to be little things that show the pull of two different points of view. This is a paranormal cozy and I felt like the authors couldn’t agree on how much paranormal they needed to throw in while also keeping it a romantic cozy. It was very confusing with Charlene alternating between wanting to explore a relationship with Sam while also falling for Jack. The cozy wine and cheese chats, her cuddled up on the sofa and ever so lightly touching Jack’s ghostly hand. Then realizing she “missed a flesh-and-blood man–being held as if cherished”. But, she also wished Jack could be waiting for her in her bedroom instead of just her cat. So she went back and forth and it was painful to read.

The next thing was the paranormal in the book. I enjoy reading what I call ‘light paranormal’ I’m not into all the weird, violent, spell casting books. I don’t read a lot of horror books because that’s not my thing. I felt in this book, the authors were struggling with riding the border of cute/funny and hardcore paranormal. They confused me several times with all the Wicca vs Witch discussions that ended up going nowhere. They went on and on about spells, spell books and having psychic or witch ‘powers’. Charlene had too many conversations that were meant to enlighten the reader about this alternate way of life in Salem; they just became monotonous and stirred the cauldron of confusion for me. The introduction of so many new characters could have been interesting if they were fleshed out and more than stereotypes dropped into the story to give Charlene somebody to drink tea/coffee/wine/cocoa with at the B&B/cafe/winery/bar/the park etc and chat chat chat.

The final confrontation pulled me right out of cozy into violent real-world. I definitely felt the two authors in this part of the book; two competing writing styles clashed and made for a very weird reveal of whodunit. The ending did let us in on a secret investigation that should have been part of the plot from page one; it would have made perfect sense, helped explain Charlene getting involved
in this mess, and kept us in warm fuzzy paranormal cozy book town, but it was hidden until the wrap up.

My biggest problem with this book, besides no motivation of any kind for the guy she wanted to help, was Charlene being in danger-AGAIN and BECAUSE IT WAS HER OWN FAULT for being STUPID. Why in the world would she keep going around talking to people, asking stupid questions, and walking into unsafe situations? There is even a line in the book that sums up the entire book and made me laugh out loud: “The heroine was smart and savvy, not the too-stupid-to-live kind, like she’d been the night before.” Well, duh, Charlene, you were stupid; not just the night before but throughout the entire book.

I give up on this series. One skinny little star only because there is a cat.

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